WRITER: REED SMITH
CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 2, 2001
UI Writers Workshop poet kicks off creative writing
project in West Liberty
IOWA CITY, Iowa --
Matt Miller, a University of Iowa Writers Workshop poet, presented a
creative writing/poetry workshop Monday, Feb. 19, and Bret Johnston, a Writers
Workshop fiction writer, presented a fiction workshop Thursday, March 1, at
West Liberty High School, launching the schools participation in "Cultivating
Creative Writing: An Iowa Tradition" a UI Arts Share project involving
Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell and prominent fiction writer Chris Offutt.
The workshop begins a series of activities designed
to raise awareness about one of the State of Iowas cultural gems, creative
writing, and its impact on 20th-century American Literature. The project asks
students to explore Iowas unique artistic contributions and opportunities.
The UI Writers Workshop is the worlds
oldest and most influential creative writing degree program, which has helped
the UI and Iowa City gain an international reputation as a Mecca for writers
and has made the name "Iowa" synonymous with writing around the
The educational component of the current project will
take place in seven high schools in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and West Liberty
and will be completed by June 30.
In preparation for the project, students will read
books by graduates and faculty of the Writers Workshop, which will introduce
its history and a variety of its distinguished writers. The literature includes:
Frank Conroys "Stop Time," Chris Offutts "Kentucky
Straight," Marvin Bells "Poetry of a Midsummers
Night," Tracy Kidders "Among Schoolchildren," and Robert
Danas "A Community of Writers: Paul Engle and the Iowa Writers
In the second phase students will participate in a
long-term residency with a current Writers Workshop student. During
the residencies students will be asked to work through revisions and rough
drafts of poetry and fiction, and to participate in the presentation of the
The final component includes a lecture/reading by
Marvin Bell and Chris Offutt.
Matt Miller will continue his residency at West Liberty
High School with visits scheduled on March 9 and March 20.
In his second year as an Arts Share artist, Miller
has conducted many workshops with students of all ages. He has worked extensively
with Pulitzer Prize winners Jorie Graham and John Ashbery, and his poems have
appeared in Prairie Schooner and Poetry Northwest.
Bret Johnston will continue his residency at West
Liberty High School with visits scheduled on March 2 and March 8.
In his first year as an Arts Share artist, Johnston
has conducted workshops and readings for high school students. He holds a
masters degree in fiction writing from Miami University. His fiction
and nonfiction have appeared in magazines including Glamour, Mid-American
Review, Shenandoah and the Crescent Review. His short stories have been anthologized
in "Scribners Best of the Fiction Workshops 1999" and "Patterns
"Cultivating Creative Writing -- an Iowa Tradition,"
was made possible by a grant from Iowa Arts Council Access to the Arts. Funds
provided by the Alliant Energy Foundation will supplement the Iowa Arts Council
To find out more about the upcoming events of the
project, contact Diane Kenney Handler at the Arts Share office (319) 335-1618.
The UI Arts Share program provides artistic resources
from the Iowa Center for the Arts to schools and community organizations.
The 2000-2001 Arts Share roster includes more than 70 faculty and graduate
students in music, theater, dance, the visual arts and creative writing.
For more information about the Arts Share program,
call director Diane Kenney Handler at (319) 335-1618 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A free Arts Share program guide including artist roster
is available at the Arts Share office, 2077 Voxman Music Building, the University
of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.
For UI arts information, visit this new address---
---on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact Deborahemail@example.com.